Sci fi novel
March 31, 2012 8:41 AM   Subscribe

I need help finding the title of a sci fi story I read once.

From what I remember of the plot a ship is leaving Earth and traveling to a planet so far away that the individuals who started the trip will never reach it. But when their descendents finally reach it they discover that the technological advancement on Earth has reached the point where other ships have already traveled to and colonized the planet and they are greeted with a huge celebration in their name. I seem to recall it was a short story. That's all I have an help is appreciated.
posted by trojanhorse to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm afraid there are several that come to mind with that description! Have you tried searching with terms like "generation ship"?
posted by easily confused at 9:02 AM on March 31, 2012

Does anything ring any bells on the TV Tropes page about Generation Ships?
posted by bcwinters at 9:05 AM on March 31, 2012

How long ago? Kevin J Anderson's Veiled Alliances had something very similar.... But it was published in 2004 as a graphic novel. I think you'd remember at part (although the elements of the story were mentioned in various of his other Saga of the Seven Suns novels).

As the others mention, this is rather a common theme, going back to probably Heinlein's Universe/Commonsense short stories in 1941, so there is a lot of stuff out there. I probably have two dozen genreration ship stories in my SF collection.
posted by kaszeta at 9:28 AM on March 31, 2012

(You actually might want TVTropes' "Lightspeed Leapfrog" page, as that fits more with the advancement/planet-already-settled/huge celebration elements.)

Was this the main thrust of the story, or just a background detail?
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 9:52 AM on March 31, 2012

Does this question help?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:08 AM on March 31, 2012

I was going to say it sounded like "Far Centaurus," but that has frozen astronauts instead of a generation ship.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:08 AM on March 31, 2012

Is it The Shoulders of Giants by Robert J. Sawyer?
posted by ripley_ at 12:49 PM on March 31, 2012

This sounds like Robert Heinlein's Time for the Stars, though that was a novel, published in 1956.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2012

From the TV Tropes link it sounds like it's definitely Sean Williams's "On the Road to Tarsus."
posted by gerryblog at 4:22 PM on March 31, 2012

There are similar ideas in The Forever War. While colony ships were involved in the beginning of the story, that's not what the bulk of the book is about.
posted by xedrik at 2:35 PM on April 1, 2012

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